Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
Over the last three months I have been based at St. Helens on Tasmania's sunny east coast; I suppose it doesn't take a genius to work out what has taken up most of my spare time while being in this lovely holiday destination. Anyone who wishes to have some great fishing included in their holiday would not need to look further than this area.

Georges Bay has a huge amount of fish with many species to get one's attention. The bait fish in late October were there in great numbers and the predator fish were right on them. Not having access to a boat while there, the deeper shore lines and the jetties were my fishing points. I caught more fish than I ever thought possible. Very interesting was that the people who fish on the jetties all had their own special way of catching fish (mostly with bait). The different hook and sinker attachments were interesting to say the least, most catching their share of fish; also interesting was to have a look in the catch buckets where one would find a variety of fish.

Many of these people have been fishing these local jetties for a very long time and most will tell how much the fishing has improved since the netting has been stopped in the bay. But you know one of the most exciting things about the jetty fishers is the stories they tell, especially the one where the big flathead is chasing the pelican.

I could go on talking about St. Helens and it's fishing, but the holy grail of fish beckons me back to the rivers and lakes. Hopefully we will get some better hatches than last season. If I had to choose a dry fly for this part of the season it would be an emerger, of which there are dozens of patterns, with most being successful at the right time.

A couple of important things for an emerger are how it sits in the water, and being visible to the angler. Hopefully the fish will put their mouth over the fly, which makes their presence very visible; but if they suck it down it's not so easy to see, so a fly that is a little easier to see is a must. This will enable the fisher to see exactly where the fly is.

Some emergers have posts that are very visible and I use these on occasions. They come in many forms and most work well, but if you require a fly to sit very low the following fly works very well. Very important is not to overdress these flies, remembering that you want them to float in or on the surface so too much dressing will cause them to sink.

Basic emerger
Hook - light gauge size 12-14
Thread - brown
Wing case - strip orange foam
Tail - very small bunch deer hair
Body - brown possum fur
Hackle - brown cock hackle

1. Start with thread tying just behind the eye, wind back with a few turns.
2. Tie in orange foam strip.
3. Take thread back to bend of hook, tie in a very small bunch of deer hair for tail.
4. With brown possum fur dubbing form a nicely shaped body, bring body dubbing snugly behind thorax.
5. With brown cock feather for part parachute hackle tie in firmly at the side of the wing case material. Cut away excess hackle stem.
6. Bring thread forward to the eye. With a small amount of possum dubbing, dub back to the wing case.
7. Take hackle and wind around wing case four times making sure each turn is under the previous one. With the thread, wind around wing case securing hackle. Cut away excess hackle tip.
8. With a very small amount of dubbing dub forward to the eye.
9. Take the wing case by the tip and pull forward to just behind the eye tie in firmly, cut away excess wing case, whip finish and varnish.

This fly pattern is a very versatile one. The colours can be changed to represent other insects. The fly is easy to see with the attached bright wing case. Normally this fly would be fished as a single fly to sighted fish.

May I wish everyone a very happy festive season and tight lines for the coming months.

Jan Spencer

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